An expert found that former City Press editor Mathatha Tsedu’s son Avhatakali Netshisaulu was burnt alive in his car, the High Court in Johannesburg heard on Thursday.
Handing down judgment in the murder case, Judge Naren Pandya read out Dr Gina Rowe’s testimony in which she described Netshisaulu’s death, in the boot of his car, as “painful”.
She previously told the court Netshisaulu was burnt beyond recognition. Rowe and other pathologists said a high level of carbon monoxide was found in Netshisaulu’s blood — indicating he was alive and had inhaled the gas.
Rowe said the human body begins to be reduced to ashes at 800 degrees Celsius, and Netshisaulu was burnt at this temperature.
Rowe’s evidence was read out after Pandya recapped testimony by Netshisaulu father, Mathatha Tsedu. He caught sight of his son’s charred body in the boot of his burnt-out car in a bush in Honeydew, northern Johannesburg.
Netshisaulu’s widow Mulalo Sivhidzo, Ntambudzeni Matzhenene and Arnold Sello are on trial for the murder, robbery and kidnapping on December 7, 2006. Sivhidzo is accused of having hired Matzhenene and Arnold to murder her husband.
Judgment continues. — Sapa